Friday, December 23, 2011

Firespell by Chloe Neill

Chloe Neill

Grade: B+                                                                     

Description from Chloe Neill's website.                                         

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker    thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.
The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.
Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…
My thoughts on the book:
Firespell by Chloe Neill is a good start to the Dark Elite series. I have read all of the Chicagoland Vampire books by Ms. Neill, and I was curious to see how her YA books stood up next to the adult books, and I wasn't disappointed. While it doesn't move as fast as I would have liked for it to, it does do a good job laying groundwork for a new series. The novel also introduces Lily Parker and her friends, who are all very well-rounded characters. Lily is the type of girl that everyone can relate to, especially young adults. Because of this, the first person narration works perfectly. 
Lily's parents go to Germany for a sabbatical, and they force Lily to enroll in St. Sophia's School for Girls in Chicago. Lily, an Upstate New York native is none too happy about the change in the beginning. Neill does an excellent job using Chicago as a backdrop, and as a former Chicago resident, I can picture exactly where St. Sophia's would be in the city. As with the Chicagoland Vampire series, Chicago is almost a character unto itself. The city feels very alive in real life, and I feel that the way Neill makes it seem like its own character does it justice. Very few authors could pull that off, but the city is an important aspect of the story, as it should be. One of my favorite parts of the book is the fact that she uses the old Pedway as a setting.
There isn't a lot of magic in the book, and there is absolutely no violence to speak of. A couple of semi-violent spells are cast, but past that, there is nothing violent about it. That surprised me because even YA paranormal books generally have at least some violence. However, I think that the lack of violence is somewhat refreshing, even though I was hoping for at least one fight scene to spice things up a bit. 
Lily has a love interest in the book, but the almost-relationship progresses slowly. I prefer the slow building relationship to the insta-love that is common in so many YA books today. There is an almost-kiss in the novel, but beyond that, nothing romantic really happens. Lily flirts with the guy she's interested in, and he flirts with her, but it's not some all-consuming love that can't be controlled. The fact that the relationship is taking its natural course makes the entire novel much more believable. 
Lily's best friend Scout is a great addition to the story. She is funny and sarcastic. She reminds me of a true Chicagoan. I really enjoy her banter with Lily. 
Of course there are mean girls in the novel. What YA novel would be complete without mean girls at the school? However, the heroine does handle the pranks rather well, which makes her a good role model, in my opinion. 
Over all I enjoyed the book, and I am currently reading Hexbound, which is the next novel in the series. I will post my review of it once I'm finished. 
Have a Happy Holiday, everyone!
Want to try out Firespell for yourself? Print Kindle E-Book
Barnes and Noble: Print
Barnes and Noble: Nook E-Book

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading it , too. I live in Romania so I have to wait until the second book will be published. I hope it will be as good as ''Firespell''.


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